Human Flourishing Journey
October, 2021 - June, 2022
What does it mean to flourish in life?
What are the elements that enable our lives to flourish despite the ups and downs and, at times, incomprehensible and heart-breaking circumstances that life throws our way?
These are the questions we asked ourselves as we went through the experience of the pandemic and as we now cautiously approach the light at the end of the tunnel. We wanted this year’s forum to be a safe space where we share the losses, fear, frustration, and the small and large lessons from the days of the pandemic and explore the ways in which we can take the next step forward. We would like to talk about how to integrate all of these learnings into our lives so that we can flourish with a renewed sense of connection and wisdom and also help others to flourish.
With “Human Flourishing” as our theme, we will be discussing the different aspects of life well-lived with world-renowned scientists. As always, we will hold the space for deep, intimate conversations; and we will have guided practices to learn practical tools for self-care.
But we are also introducing a new format this year. Instead of the sessions taking place over a few short days, we’ve decided to space out our gatherings over nine months - a longer journey with more time and space deliberately built into the format. The journey will be a combination of seven online sessions culminating in a retreat in Switzerland where we will connect in person.
We would like to take the time to let the thoughts and emotions that we have stored in our minds and bodies rise to the surface. Slowly. And gently. We would like to give ourselves the gift of our attention so that, with loving care, we can process all that we have gone through and embody the new insights into our lives. That is why, along with the research information on flourishing, we will also be devoting extra time to learn self-care practices and connect to each other’s stories. In Switzerland, at a home setting surrounded by nature, we will reflect on our journey together and share the experience of "feeling at home" in body, mind and spirit.
We would like to honor all of our human experiences, so that despite all, we can still hope, love and flourish.
We hope you will join us on this journey and take the hope, wisdom and love into the world.
Safer Space for leaders from diverse fields and backgrounds to examine their inner selves and values in a confidential and professional environment.
Information about the basic aspects of human flourishing and lessons from spirituality based on the latest scientific research.
Wisdom for Transformation to support attendees in becoming positive agents of change in the world.
Practical Tools for Self-Care to incorporate into personal and working lives.
Community to support each other’s journeys, especially to reflect on the changes, losses, despair, as well as rays of hope experienced during the pandemic.
The in-person retreat in June 2022 will take place in Switzerland at Greifenstein, a 16th century manor overlooking Lake Constance, the third largest freshwater lake in Europe, situated where Switzerland, Germany and Austria meet. Greifenstein is a private home surrounded by the verdant Swiss landscape. The intention is for the participants to gather in the familiarity of a home setting for the final retreat.
SESSION 1: HUMAN FLOURISHING
Matthew T. Lee, PhD.
Director of Empirical Research at the Human Flourishing Program, Harvard University
What is human flourishing? How is it related to happiness and love? Can any of these lofty ideals really be measured by scientific methods? What are some of the essential ingredients of flourishing at the individual and community levels? Does flourishing serve a larger purpose, and if so, what is flourishing for? This session offers a synthesis of current research being conducted by the interdisciplinary team at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University and will provide an overview of the theme for this year’s forum. Insights from rigorous social science studies combined with deep wisdom from the humanities support the timeless quest to integrate beauty, truth, and goodness in a spiritual work of love.
SESSIONS & SPEAKERS
Matthew T. Lee, Ph.D., is Director of Empirical Research at the Human Flourishing Program in the Institute for Quantitative Science at Harvard University, where he also leads the Program's Community of Practice. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Health, Flourishing, and Positive Psychology at Stony Brook University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, a visiting scholar with the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, a non-resident Research Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. He previously served as President of the North Central Sociological Association and as Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity. His current research explores topics such as benevolent service to others, organizational compassion capability, and the integration of social science and the humanities. He is co-editor of Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and the Humanities and co-author of The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God’s Love, both published by Oxford University Press.
SESSION 2: THE MEANING OF SUFFERING
Paul Wong, PhD.
Professor Emeritus, Trent University
What is suffering? Why do terrible things happen to good people? How can we make sense of suffering? What can we do about it? In this session, we will introduce a new approach that can help people transcend and transform suffering especially during the pandemic.
Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych. is Professor Emeritus of Trent University. He is a Fellow of APA and CPA and President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (www.meaning.ca) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc.
Editor of the International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, he has also edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning. A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists.
The originator of Meaning Therapy and International Meaning Conferences, he has been invited to give keynotes and meaning therapy workshops worldwide.
He is the recent recipient of the Carl Rogers Award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div. 32 of the APA).
SESSION 3: CONNECTING TO OUR AWARENESS
Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD.
President & CEO, Focusing Resources, Inc.
How do we become aware of the pain and suffering that we are carrying in our mind and body? How do we befriend both our suffering, and our defenses against it, so that they no longer limit us? As a response to Session 2 on Suffering, we will be exploring practical measures to become aware of unprocessed emotional pain and to embrace the wisdom of suffering as we release it.
Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, is an author, educator, and worldwide authority on Focusing, the emotional self-healing method developed by her close colleague, Eugene Gendlin. She has taught Focusing in more than 20 countries over the past 30 years. With her colleague Barbara McGavin, Dr. Cornell developed a system and technique called Inner Relationship Focusing. She has given presentations and trainings in Inner Relationship Focusing at the Esalen Institute, the Psychotherapy Networker Conference, the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Person-Centered Experiential Psychotherapy, and the Cape Cod Institute, as well as offering privately organized workshops and phone seminars. Dr. Cornell is the President and CEO of Focusing Resources, Inc., whose mission is to meaningfully contribute to personal, community, and global emotional health. Her books include the bestselling The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing and her latest: Presence: A Guide to Transforming Your Most Challenging Emotions. She is a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology.
SESSION 4: HOPE
Everett Worthington, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Psychology
There are different types of hope. How does hope benefit our spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical life and contribute to our well-being? Can we learn to hope? Or perhaps a better question is, can interventions make us more hopeful? This session will discuss some scientific research on hope and open questions about whether, and if so, how we can learn to be more hopeful when hope seems difficult or even impossible.
Everett Worthington, Ph.D., is Commonwealth Professor Emeritus working from the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds a Faculty Affiliate appointment at the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University (Human Flourishing Program) and an adjunct position with Regent University. He continues to be active in research and speaking around the world. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia. He has published over 45 books and around500 articles and scholarly chapters, mostly on forgiveness, humility and positive psychology, marriage, and family topics, and religion and spirituality. He also has developed the REACH Forgiveness model (see www.EvWorthington-forgiveness.com ), supported by over 30 randomized trials, and being tested currently in a global grant-funded randomizedcontrolled trials in 5 countries ( six sites), and he has developed numerous other positive psychological interventions.
SESSION 5: SELF-COMPASSION
Senior Fellow, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Compassion, which is empathy for the suffering of others with the desire to relieve that suffering, is important in all our relationships, including successful leadership. Compassion for others requires that you first tune in to your own needs and learn to care for yourself so that you understand what another person feels when his/her needs are not met - what we call suffering. During this session, we will do simple practices that can help you tune to what you need right now to alleviate your own suffering so that you can flourish and go on to create a just and compassionate world.
Mirabai Bush is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Founding Director. Under her leadership, the Center introduced contemplative practices into higher education, law, business, environment leadership, military, and social justice activism. She also co-developed Search Inside Yourself for Google, the first program in mindfulness-based emotional intelligence. She has been teaching workshops and courses on compassion and contemplative practice in life and work for 45 years. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, supporting sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. In the Seventies in Cambridge, MA, she founded and led Illuminations, a successful business based on principles of right livelihood. She is co-author with Ram Dass of Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying and Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service; co-author with Daniel Barbezat of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning; and editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live.
She has been a board member of Lions Roar, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Omega Institute, Seva Foundation, Military Fitness Institute, the Dalai Lama Fellows, and Love Serve Remember. She is an advisor to Mindful magazine and Mindful.org. Her spiritual studies include meditation in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She studied aikido with Kanai Sensei and has practiced Iyengar and Sivananda yoga.
SESSION 6: BELONGING
john a. powell
Professor of Law, African American and Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley
Humanity is confronting unprecedented global challenges. There are many paths we can take to respond to this moment: some incite fear, polarization, and competition while others encourage greater cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity. This session will explore the concept of belonging and the principles that offer a path forward toward a world where all belong. We will look at these issues through the framework of a challenge to our very sense of who we are and the need for a spiritual grounding and the implication for both policy and structure.
john a. powell is Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, and prior to that, the founder and director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. john formerly served as the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is a co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. john led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care, and employment and is well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “Targeted Universalism” and “Othering and Belonging” to effect equity-based interventions. john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
SESSION 7: TAKING LOVE SERIOUSLY
If Love is ‘of the essence’ what has she to tell us? And what would happen if we took Love seriously? David Cadman will reflect upon the discovery of Love and 0n Love’s relationship with the Divine Feminine, suggesting the urgent need to let go of the language of dominance and separation, and practise Love with intention.
David Cadman is a Quaker writer living in England. Formerly an Urban Land Economist, he has been writing on love for more many years in both fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, and writing under the name of William Blyghton, he has written four novels, all published by Panacea Books, the last of which was co-authored with Lorna Howarth and is titled The Language of Love. Under non-fiction, his two most recent publications are Love and the Divine Feminine (Panacea Books, 2020) and a collection of discussion papers titled The Recovery of Love, published on the Narrative of Love website (narrative-of-love.org). He has held a number of professorships, visiting professorships and fellowships both in the UK and America and is presently a Harmony Professor of Practice at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, a Harmony Advisor to The Prince’s Foundation, and advisor to the Harmony in Education project in the UK.
Session 1: October 21, 2021 5:00-5:45pm CET
APPRECIATIVE INQUIRYwith Matt Lee
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has been described as a process for “the liberation of power” in organizations that gives people the “freedom to be known in relationship.” In this practice session, we will experience part of the AI process as we envision how to become better "stewards of the system" while also enhancing our personal sense of flourishing.
- Matt Lee
“At its heart, AI is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them. AI is not so much a shift in the methods and models of organizational change, but AI is a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to ‘see’ the wholeness of the human system and to “inquire” into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes.”
– Excerpt from: Stavros, Jacqueline, Godwin, Lindsey, & Cooperrider, David. (2015). Appreciative Inquiry: Organization Development and the Strengths Revolution. In Practicing Organization Development: A guide to leading change and transformation (4th Edition), William Rothwell, Roland Sullivan, and Jacqueline Stavros (Eds). Wiley taken from https://appreciativeinquiry.champlain.edu/learn/appreciative-inquiry-introduction/
Session 3: February 17, 2022 5:00-6:00pm CET
THE BREATH with David Less
The need to connect with the deeper self has become of paramount importance during these troubled times. Hidden in teachings and practices on breath, great awareness can be discovered. During this hour, David will offer points of view and spiritual techniques he has learned over his lifetime of inner searching. He has studied and lived the teachings of Sufis, Buddhists, Kabbalists, and Christian mystics and lived with yogis in the sacred mountains of India. He has come to realize that each person must find the practice or practices they love and those that expand their heart and consciousness, rather than necessarily needing to follow one path or one teacher. The human being can learn from an infant, and from all aspects of nature, but the deepest learning is from our own hearts and souls. David will share how we can touch this profound inner wisdom in ways that are both simple and accessible.
David Less has been a teacher and visioner of transforming ways to create inner and outer peace in individuals and in the world for the last 50 years. His philosophy of self discovery, based upon the inner ways of many different spiritual traditions, has positively impacted those who have followed his teachings. For the last 20 years, he has chaired the Abrahamic Reunion, an NGO bringing religious leaders, young people, and families together from both Israel and Palestine to promote awareness of the other and create an environment where peace is possible. He was the Global Head of the Universal Worship, a celebration of many of the world's religions on the same altar that is offered in over 50 countries. He has also made death and dying a lifelong study and has worked with doctors, nurses and hospice volunteers to shift their point of view about death from finality to transition. He is the author of Universal Meditation: A Program for Quieting the Mind.
Session 4: March 17, 2022 4:00-5:00pm CET
CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION with Father Marco Cho
On some days, my contemplative practice comes effortlessly and on other days it feels as heavy as lead. Making contemplation not just a one-time event of a momentary fervor but a deeply rooted practice of the soul is a life-long endeavor. It cannot be fabricated from the altar of my wounded pride or spiritual vanity. In Christianity, we regard it essentially as a gift from God – a gift which requires my full acceptance and humility in order to uncover its utmost beauty and benefit from its transformative power. My contemplative practice nurtured me when I hungered for inner freedom and silence and when I was afraid of seeing and accepting the true sense of my life, the truth of myself. It is a personal encounter with the divine.
In his 18 years as a priest of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marco Cho has served in Asia, Europe and South America doing missionary and pastoral work. Born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in California, U.S., he was a student at UC Berkeley when he was first introduced to the life of priesthood through a friend who was considering becoming a priest. The two of them visited the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome and the time spent there left a life-changing impression on Marco. In the end, the friend did not join the seminary but Marco did and has been following his calling ever since. After many years in Brazil, Colombia, Korea, and Italy, Father Marco is currently living in Hong Kong where he offers integral spiritual formation to members and friends of the Regnum Christi Movement. He has a keen interest in the intersection of modern psychology and Christian spirituality in the face of today’s diverse challenges. Father Marco is also an amateur photographer and a lover of music, especially that of Mahler.
Session 5: April 21, 2022 5:00-6:00pm CET
LO-JONG with Carol Beck
Lo-jong, which literally means “mind-training,” is a type of contemplative practice within Tibetan Buddhism involving active reflection on a set of aphorisms that serve as instructional reminders (e.g. be grateful to everyone; don’t take pleasure in contemplating the flaws of others; always meditate on whatever provokes resentment). Presented as a means of supporting the wellbeing of self and others, the lo jong contemplations serve as antidotes to the mental states that cause suffering primarily by promoting the active cultivation of compassion (which has an affective component reliant on feelings of affection for an individual or group, a cognitive component that includes an awareness of other’s suffering, and a motivational component which is a desire to relieve others’ suffering—including one’s own).
In this type of analytical meditation, one learns to systematically engage in the cognitive reappraisal of events and behaviors and then shift the types of mindsets that undermine wellbeing. While some of the traditional topics of contemplation require a belief in certain aspects of Buddhist philosophy (e.g. the emptiness of all phenomena) or metaphysics (e.g. rebirth, karma), many are extremely practical and available to anyone. In this session, we will briefly look at the history, theory and practice of lo-jong and how analytical meditation differs from the practice of mindfulness. We will try out a couple of traditional lo-jong contemplations and discuss how this technique can applied to the situations one encounters in everyday life.
Carol Beck is Associate Director for Operations and Communications at Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics. In this role, she supports research initiatives, facilitates partner programs, and spearheads outreach, marketing, and communications as well as overseeing general program operations. With an MFA in filmmaking, Beck had a diverse career prior to joining Emory in 2014 working at different times as an academic and independent filmmaker, and as a self-employed media professional working on five continents. A certified Senior CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) instructor, she has studied and practiced various types of meditation, especially within the Tibetan tradition, and has facilitated the meditation practice of others for nearly two decades. Beck has taught CBCT® to parents of autistic children, to university students, medical professionals, and the public. Most recently she co-facilitated the training of the first cohort of certified CBCT teachers in India. She enjoys cooking, hiking, traveling, and hosting friends and family when she’s not doting on her partner, John, or her two cats, Ozu and Pushkin.
Session 6: May 19, 2022 5:00-6:00/6:30pm CET
JEWISH CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE with Moshe Garelik
This session will be an introductory exploration of Kaballistic practice with Moses guiding us through a five step process based on the 'Five Worlds'. The Five Worlds are spiritual, heavenly realms in a descending chain. The lowest of the Five Worlds, Assiah, has both a spiritual and a physical aspect, the physical level of Assiah being our physical finite realm, including the cosmological Universe studied by science. As Kabbalah becomes more of a metaphysical study, the terms "higher" and "lower" are used as metaphors for being closer or further from Divine consciousness, revelation, and emanance.
Made in Italy and born into an esteemed rabbinical family, Moses spent his youth in between Milan and New York reared amongst the teachings inherent of the ultra orthodox. After years of travel and exploration into how identity and culture shape belief systems, working to surpass deeply ingrained divisive mentality and building bridges between diverse communities is his current focus. An activist for entrepreneurship and international relations in the European Union, Moses is the founder of several non-profit organizations in the educational, cultural, humanitarian, social and religious sectors. Moses works with individuals to co-create experiences dedicated to binding the threads that connect us as one. Committed to initiatives which elevate human consciousness, recognizing the uniqueness within each individual as a piece of the universal whole is his deepest passion.